Ericsson and Qualcomm have conducted demonstrations in china of LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) technology, which combines licensed and unlicensed spectrum to improve mobile data speeds and reduce congestion by providing a unified network.
In the demonstration at PT/Expo Comm China 2015, the companies combined one 20 MHz licensed component carrier (CC) with one 20 MHz CC running on 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum over the air to deliver a peak throughput of up to 300 Mbps, using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE.
Ericsson introduced its LTE-U small cells for the first time at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). LTE-U enables carrier aggregation of licensed with unlicensed bands to effectively address growth in indoor data traffic and is available in Ericsson's small cell portfolio starting in fourth quarter 2015.
Today, unlicensed spectrum is generally utilised by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. LTE-U provides an efficient option for spectrum use by extending the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum, providing a more reliable and predictable performance.
The licensed band provides an anchor designed to ensure a seamless user experience with full mobility while the unlicensed band provides incremental capacity and a better user experience. The technology is designed to improve indoor app coverage for smartphone users in particular.
The use of unlicensed spectrum by licensed cellular technologies is controversial among Wi-Fi vendors concerned that it will push Wi-Fi out. Discussions are underway in various forums to find a way to ensure fair sharing of the spectrum.
Ericsson said its LTE-U technology incorporates spectrum fair sharing within the 5 GHz band to accommodate traditional Wi-Fi users. Fair sharing through LTE-U's dynamic secondary cell feature dynamically uses the unlicensed carrier based on sensed interference (for example, Wi-Fi traffic) in the neighbouring environment, to provide Wi-Fi and LTE-U users with fair access to the unlicensed spectrum.
The demonstration at PT/Expo Comm China 2015 used Ericsson’s RBS 6402 indoor picocell radio base station with multi-standard, multi-band capabilities and Wi-Fi support. It is designed to provide coverage in buildings up to 5,000 square metres in size.